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The steady growth of the political power of the English Puritans
in the reigns of James I and-Charles I greatly extended the
influence of the Baconian doctrines. Bacon himself, it is true,
was no Puritan; but his insistence on the necessity for intellectual
freedom, coupled with his faith in the potential equality of all
men in affairs of the mind, made it easy for the Puritans to bring
Tais philosophy into line with their own democratic views. It is
this more than anything else that accounts for the fact that in the
momentous years from 1640 to 1660, when Puritanism was in the
ascendant, practically every Englishman who discussed education
—and there were many—was more or less a Baconian. In some
cases, indeed, this was concealed by the fact that the dominant
influence came from Comenius and not from Bacon. But on a
large view the difference was of little consequence. Most of
Bacon's ideas which bore on education had been translated in
some fashion into practical terms by Comenius, and had been
modified in the direction of Puritanism by the moral and religious
bent of his mind. Directly or indirectly, therefore, the main
principles that guided Puritan thought on questions of education
came from Bacon.

But except on a few fundamental issues this did not produce
any great uniformity of view. Apart from the fact that Bacon's
doctrines were left in an unfinished form which allowed much
scope for individual interpretation, the educators who may be
called the Baconian group were men of marked personality and
of widely differing outlook, and were not at all likely to see eye
to eye in everything. The central figure of the company was
Samuel Hartlib (circa 1600-1670), son of a Polish merchant,
who had come from Germany to England in 1628, and had spent
his life and his fortune in promoting a variety of philanthropic
plans, chiefly educational in character. Closely allied with him
and with Comenius (whom Hartlib persuaded to come to London)
was John Dury (1596-1680), a clergyman with cosmopolitan
interests whose main object in life was to bring about a reunion
of the Protestant bodies in Europe, but who also found time to
write one or two meritorious works on education, of which The
Reformed School (1650) was the best known. Others of Hartlib's
friends were: Hezekiah Woodward (1590-1675), who taught first